Census of the Petrarch Manuscripts in the United States


NEW YORK, NEW YORK PRIVATE COLLECTION

MS 2

Petrarch, Canzoniere with hand-written facsimile of Babylon sonnets in the printed edition: Il Petrarca con l’espositione d’Alessandro Vellutello, di nuovo ristampato con le figure ai Trionfi, con le apostille, e con piv cose vtili aggiunte (Venice: Vincenzo Valgrifi, 1560). ff. 142r-143v, two folios inserted in the 18th or 19th century, containing the hand-written copy (in imitation of the italic and roman fonts of the original printed version) of Petrarch’s Rerum vulg. fragm., sonnets nos. 166, 114, 136, 138, and canzone 144, vv. 1-15 (first stanza), with a copy in the same hand of the accompanying commentary by Alessandro Vellutello. The original folios, containing the Babylon sonnets (Rerum vulg. fragm. 114, 136, 138) were torn out of the book (with adjacent poems on same pages) in accordance with the papal ban (the Index Librorum Prohibitorum of Pope Paul IV, in 1559, prohibited these sonnets from being read).1 Many printed editions and manuscript copies of the Rerum vulg. fragm. were mutilated by readers who felt compelled to expunge the Babylon poems from Petrarch’s collection, and a number of them have been restored in facsimile by enterprising copyists.2
Description of ff. 142r-143v in facsimile compared to the original printed version: f. 142r, Facsimile: commentary, "impedito, & non che per propria ... esso cuore essere in Hierusalem, terra di promissione." Printed: the commentary is completed for the sonnet "Quando piu disiose l’ali," and continues through the first two verses (and beg. of commentary) of "S’io fossi stato fermo a la spelunca". f. 142v, Facsimile: the last part of the commentary for sonnet "S’io fossi stato fermo", "e libera, Et egli in Egitto ... nulla si passio"; all of sonnet "S’io fossi stato fermo" and its commentary; the first five lines of "De l’empia Babilonia" and beg. of commentary "Nel presente Sonetto ... che in quella esser solevano e da". Printed: the last 12 lines of "S’io fossi stato fermo" and accompanying commentary, as well as the first 11 lines of verse of "De l’empia Babilonia" with accompanying commentary that is completed on the following page. f. 143r, Facsimile: begins with the 6th verse of "De l’empia Babilonia", finishes the poem and has the remaining commentary; all of "Fiamma dal ciel" and all of commentary; all of sonnet "Fontana di dolore" and beginning of commentary that continues on verso of f. 143 (commentary: "... Onde Dante nel XIX del’infer. Ai Constantin. di quanto mal fu matre non la conversion, ma quella dote [catchword: che]". Printed: begins with the last three lines of "De l’empia Babilonia" and remaining commentary; all of "Fiamma dal ciel" and its commentary; all of "Fontana di dolore" and the first part of the commentary that continues on verso of f. 143 (commentary: Onde Dante nel XIX de l’infer. ai Constantin di quanto mal fu matre, Non la tua conversione, ma quella dote, Che da te prese il primo ricco patre. Dice [catchword: adunque]. The scribe of the hand-written text has almost caught up with the printed version, leaving this to the verso of f. 143. f. 143v, Facsimile: five lines of commentary to "Fontana di dolore"; All of "Mai non vo piu cantar" and beginning of commentary (same as printed edition). Printed: four lines of commentary of "Fontana di dolore"; all of "Mai non vo piu cantar" and beginning of commentary.
Other features related to the Babylon sonnets in the printed edition: f. 147v, "L’avara Babilonia ha colmo ’l sacco" (RVF 136), one of the Babylon sonnets that escaped destruction, appearing here intact in original printed form with commentary by Vellutello. ff. 214v-215r, Printed index list of first verses of the Rerum vulg. fragm., with folio numbers: f. 214v, De l’empia Babilonia, ond’è fuggita 142 (RVF 114) f. 214v, Fiamma dal ciel su le tue treccie piova 143 (RVF 136) f. 214v, Fontana di dolore, albergo d’ira 143 (RVF 138) f. 215r, L’avara Babilonia ha colmo il sacco 142 (RVF 137)
Both sonnets "De l’empia Babilonia, ond’è fuggita" (RVF 114) and "L’avara Babilonia ha colmo il sacco" (Rvf 137 ) are listed in the index as being on f. 142v, but "De l’empia Babilonia" (in handwritten copy) actually appears on f. 142v and f. 143r, whereas "L’avara Babilonia" appears in original printed form on f. 147v. This order of the poems and possible typographical error are present in other 1560 editions of this edition. The order of the poems differs from the final version of the Rerum vulg. fragm. as based on Cod. Vat. Lat. 3195 .3
ORIGIN
Printed in Italy , and the manuscript insert was probably also done in Italy.
PROVENANCE
Acquired in 2004.
BIBLIOGRAPHY
Dutschke, "Supplement II," pp. 12-15.

Notes
1. In the 1557 Roman index, alongside other well-known prohibited authors who have published works that are “invitations to heresy or to some form of deceitful impiety or a certain type of obscene trupitude,” appears Petrarch (cited for his Babylon Sonnets and anti-Avignon letters Sine nomine). In 1559, Blado published the Instructio circa indicem librorum prohibitorum that contained a series of clarification on the 1559 Index, and marked the official beginning of expurgation of literary texts. It would seem likely that the excising or cancellation of the Babylon Sonnets from the Canzoniere, in accordance with the Instructio, began in the mid‐16th century. See Cristina Dondi, "Per un censimento di incunaboli e cinquecentine postillati dei Rerum vulgarium fragmenta e dei Triumphi VIII. Oxford: Bodleian Library, Aevum, 74 (2000), pp. 675-707.
2. Cfr. the restoration work of 19th-century John Harris on 1471 Decameron, in Neil Harris, “The Ripoli Decameron, Guglielmo Libri and the ‘Incomparabile’ Harris,” in The Italian Book 1465-1800, Studies Presented to Dennis E. Rhodes, edited by Denis V. Reidy, London, The British Library, 1993, pp. 323-333, and another similar artist in Italy, in Neil Harris, “The unicum of the second edition of Bioardo’s Orlando Innamorato and a forgery of the last century,” Rivista di letteratura italiana, 4 (1986), pp. 519-36.
3. The order of the poems in the Vellutello edition was determined by the editors of the volume, as is seen on f. XII, “DIVISIONE DE SONETTI, E DELLE CANZONI DEL PETRARCA IN TRE PARTI. I SONETTI, e le Canzoni del Petrarca, seguitando l’ordine de gli antichi testi, sono stati in due parti divisi: cioé quelli che’n vita da quelli, che’n morte di M. Lau. fu giudicato che da lui fossero scritti da chi il primo ordine gli diede; la qual divisione, non havendo a quelli altro ordine posto, era poco necessaria. Ma noi, che ad altro ordine riducer li vogliamo, non solamente in due, ma in tre parti è di bisogno che li dividiamo Saranno adunq; nella prima parte posti tutti quelli, che veramente in vita di M. Laura si conoscono per la lor sententia da lui essere stati scritti, e che de’ suoi felici, & infelici amorosi effetti & accidenti trattano, ò che in quelli del suo amoroso errore mostra dolersi, o da esso errore desiderar di potersi rimovere, ò d’essersi rimosso. Nella seconda parte saranno posti tutti quelli, che dopo la morte di lei di tal morte propriamente, ò per circonscrittione, ò in altra forma parlano: & in queste due parti tutta l’opera sarà contenuta. Nella terza & ultima parte fuori dell’opra saranno posti tutti quelli che’n diversi tempi & altri soggettti, & a piu terze persone da lui furono scritti...”

Abbreviations
Dutschke, Supplement II
Dutschke, D. "Census of Petrarch Manuscripts in the United States: Supplement II," Studi Petrarcheschi, NS, vol. 18, 2005, pp. 1-22.

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